By Krista Goelz, CLASV Student Spring 2013 Advisor
In 2012, on average, 9.9% of veterans were unemployed, which is down from an all time high in 2011 of 12.1%. However, it is still much higher than the national unemployment average and equals approximately 205,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are currently without work. But there is good news: recently passed tax incentives are compelling companies to hire more veterans than ever before. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 provides tax incentives for employers to hire and train veterans who are unemployed or have service-connected disabilities.
In February, Wal-Mart pledged to hire 100,000 recently discharged veterans in the next five years. Wal-Mart has stated that they will hire any veteran, who was honorably discharged, within twelve months of leaving active duty service. To find more information on Wal-Mart’s program, please visit: http://walmartcareerswithamission.com.
However, Wal-Mart is not the only employer who has been actively trying to recruit veterans to its workforce. This month, Disney announced plans to hire another 1,000 veterans over the next two years, after hiring 1,300 this past year.
Additionally, HirePurpose, an organization and staffing agency that matches veterans with civilian career opportunities, has listed the top five companies currently hiring veterans. In order, they are: (1) Booz Allen Hamilton (http://www.boozallen.com/consulting/better-our-world/supporting-veterans); (2) Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) (http://jobs.saic.com/job/Mclean-Operation-MVP-(Military-Veteran-Program)-Job-VA-22101/1727544/) ; (3) Northrop Grumman (http://www.northropgrumman.com/Careers/MilitaryVeterans/Pages/default.aspx) ; (4) USAA (https://www.usaa.apply2jobs.com/ProfExt/military_recruiting.html) ; and (5) L-3 Communications (http://www.l-3com.com/careers/transitioning-military.html). Please visit their websites for more information on each company’s hiring initiatives.
Another beneficial website for veterans seeking employment is http://www.hireheroesusa.org. HireHeroes is a non-profit dedicated to finding employment opportunities for veterans, at no cost to them. They not only assist with matching veterans with an employer, they also offer resume reviews and revisions, teach interviewing skills, and help the veteran identify any VA benefits to which they may be entitled.
For veterans seeking federal employment, http://www.fedshirevets.gov is a website run by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, meant to enforce President Barack Obama’s veterans hiring initiative. The website gives useful information on finding federal employment and how to take advantage of veteran’s preference. All federal job openings are posted on https://www.usajobs.gov. It is important to note that veterans are eligible for certain federal hiring preferences. The federal government assigns points to the most qualified candidates for a position. If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for an additional 5-10 points on your federal employment application.
You are eligible for a 5 point preference if you meet any of the following conditions: (1) served 180 or more consecutive days on active duty, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on a future date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom; or (2) served on active duty between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992; or (3) served on active duty 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976; or (4) you served on active duty in a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.
You are 10-point preference eligible if you served at any time, and you: (1) have a service connected disability; or (2) received a Purple Heart.
Finally, for employers, hiring veterans is an all around smart business move. Not only due to the recent tax breaks given to businesses that hire veterans, but also because of the unique skills veterans bring to their workforce. Veterans have a proven track record of loyalty, they are team players, they respond to directions well, and have increased retention rates and greater performance levels than the civilian workforce.
 USA Today, Veteran Jobless Rate Falls but Remains High, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/06/vets-jobless-rate-drops/1812667/ (January 6, 2013).
 United State Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, http://benefits.va.gov/vow/foremployers.htm (last accessed February 18, 2013).
 USA Today, Wal-Mart Pledges to Hire 100,000 Veterans, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/15/wal-mart-hire-100000-veterans/1835397/ (January 15, 2013).
 HirePurpose, Top 5 Companies Hiring Veterans, http://hirepurpo.se/blog/top-5-companies-hiring-veterans/ (February 14, 2013).
 FedsHireVets.gov, Veterans Preference, http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx (last accessed February 19, 2013).
 PR Web, Why Hiring Veterans is a Smart Business Move, http://www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=2013-01-20&val=945859&cat=business (January 20, 2013).
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s only and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CLASV, George Mason University School of Law, George Mason University or any agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia.